"It looked to me like he slipped a little bit, and I just got real nervous," Leyland said. "I mean, we've got a lot at stake here, and so do the Yankees."
Scherzer said later he did not slip.
Weather played a major impact in the game from the start. With local radar showing thunderstorms on the way, the Yankees and Tigers both decided to scratch their scheduled starting pitchers in favor of non-roster relievers.
Thus, instead of Scherzer, Jon Kibler started for the Tigers in what was truly a no-win situation -- a short-notice assignment against a lineup of New York regulars -- and retired only one of the seven Yankees he faced. He gave up six runs on three hits and three walks as New York sent 12 batters to the plate in the opening inning.
"I felt sorry for the poor kid," Leyland said. "Sometimes it just isn't your day."
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After relief prospect Robbie Weinhardt finished out the first inning and pitched a clean second, though, in came Scherzer for the third. Likewise, the Yankees brought in starter Andy Pettitte around the same time, hoping to get in some work against big league hitters before heavier rains came.
Scherzer pitched 1 2/3 innings before finishing out the rest of his pitches in the batting cages. His second and final inning took an odd turn even before play halted when pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez mysteriously retreated back to first base on Robinson Cano's single. Third-base umpire Marty Foster mistakenly called the ball a catch at first before realizing it had dropped.
Two batters and a Granderson sacrifice fly later, play stopped. The abrupt halt led to the question whether Leyland had called for his team to leave the field. Leyland said it was the umpiring crew's call.
"I didn't call anybody off. I can't do that," Leyland said. "I think [Fletcher] was just getting ready to [call for the tarp] at the same time I was yelling that we have to do something. There's no issue at all. The umpires did nothing wrong, and neither did I.
"I probably overreacted. If anybody overreacted, it was me. But I got nervous."
Up next: The Tigers' Spring Training road trip continues Monday with their seventh and final matchup against the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET at Dunedin Stadium. Rick Porcello will get the start, with Phil Coke and Joel Zumaya also expected to pitch. Miguel Cabrera, Brandon Inge and Scott Sizemore are among those scheduled to make the trip to face Jays starter Dana Eveland.